Judge puts river-trail attacker behind bars for 14 years Nightmare came true for child sexual assault victim who feared he would hurt others, lawyer says
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/09/2022 (244 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg man’s own history of being sexually abused as a child set him on a criminal path that ended with his arrest for attacking three women and a teenage girl along the city’s Red River trail system, a judge has heard.
“It’s often been said that hurt people hurt people,” Crown prosecutor Chantal Boutin said. “This case is a tragic anatomy of the long-lasting harm caused by childhood sexual abuse.”
Jordan Andrew Bruyere, 30, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault, assault with a weapon, sexual assault with a weapon and sexual interference in four attacks between April and August 2021. In a sentence jointly recommended by the Crown and defence that took into account Bruyere’s past history as a sexual abuse victim, provincial court Judge Robin Finlayson sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
“While the offences before the court occurred in the spring and summer of 2021, their genesis can be traced back to… when Mr. Bruyere’s victimization would change the course of his own life and alter the future of four women who were strangers to him,” Boutin said.
Details of the abuse Bruyere suffered as a minor cannot be disclosed due to a publication ban.
Bruyere’s victims ranged in age from 15 to 36. Details of the attacks and Bruyere’s subsequent arrest were included in an agreed statement of facts read out in court.
Court heard Bruyere grabbed one woman near the Manitoba legislature grounds and threatened her with a knife before she screamed and managed to escape. He lured another woman to the river along Assiniboine Avenue and raped her after she asked to use his cellphone.
Bruyere attacked his two final victims 14 hours apart on Aug. 8, 2021. He sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl he had been walking with at about 3:30 a.m. in the area of Churchill High School. Bruyere was attempting to pull the girl into some bushes to continue the assault when she freed herself and ran toward an approaching fire truck for help. Later that day, at about 5:30 p.m., Bruyere pulled a woman to the ground as she was jogging along the river trail near the Norwood Bridge. The woman screamed and was able to free herself and run away.
Reports of the attacks led to police issuing a public-safety alert. After police released security video showing images of a possible suspect, a family friend contacted police, identifying the man as Bruyere.
He was arrested Aug. 27, 2021, and while left alone in an interview room attempted to choke himself with his shirt. After police officers intervened and waited for paramedics, an emotional Bruyere blamed his actions on his childhood abuser, saying “I can’t be fixed,” and “skinners like me should be put down.”
Bruyere was released on bail Sept. 2, 2021, but rearrested a week later after the lead detective in the case learned Bruyere had told officers details of two attacks for which he had not been charged.
Court heard Bruyere had already suffered neglect and physical abuse as a child and spent time in foster care before he was sexually abused. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and, in the years that followed, fell into gang life and drug abuse. At the time of the sex attacks, he was abusing methamphetamine.
From a young age, Bruyere wanted help, but never received the counselling and treatment he needed to deal with the abuse he suffered, defence lawyer Laura Robinson told court.
“As a teenager, after all he had gone through, he feared he would be the person who victimized others and, in the spring and summer of 2021, that nightmare came true for him,” Robinson said.
“As a teenager, after all he had gone through, he feared he would be the person who victimized others and, in the spring and summer of 2021, that nightmare came true for him.”–Laura Robinson, defence lawyer
Bruyere “never really had a chance at a successful life,” she said. “It seems at every turn he’s not getting the help he’s seeking.”
Bruyere co-operated with investigators and never intended to fight the charges against him, even though he could have challenged the admissibility of his statement to police, she said.
Two of the women Bruyere attacked provided victim impact statements for the sentencing hearing, but did not want them read aloud in court.
Given an opportunity to address court, Bruyere said he was sorry for his actions.
“I know that doesn’t change anything or the damage that I’ve caused,” he said.
Bruyere has made it clear he knows he needs help, Finlayson said.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people in your position aren’t prepared to admit that, and that is the first step, I think, toward your rehabilitation,” said the judge, who urged Bruyere to take advantage of treatment opportunities while in prison.
The 14-year sentence, “while very, very long, will give you some hope at the end of the day,” Finlayson said. “But that only happens if you put in the work.”
Bruyere received credit for time served, reducing his remaining sentence to approximately 12 1/2 years.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.